Long Beard's Blog

01 May 2022

Purpose vs Collectability

Coins-United States | Long Beard

With the ever growing rumors and uncertainty of the U.S. one cent's continuation as a denomination struck for commerce, a viable look into an alternative seems appropriate to discuss. Rather than focus exclusively on the seigniorage, the cost to manufacture versus the face value, or the backlash millions of collectors and Lincoln admirers are surely to unleash upon the United States Mint, there in lies the topic of this week's block. Enjoy!

Since the first coins were struck in 1792, the sole purpose was for transaction of goods and services among the populace. In the years since, those responsible for the manufacture slowly began issuing special coins for an equally slow growing collector market. Mainly in the form of proof versions for the various denominations, followed a century later by commemoratives, these were and remain a secondary product to the mint's role. As collectors, we have always complained of the missed opportunities or long list of other grievances associated to that end. All the while forgetting that the United States Mint is not in existence for the collector. This does not mean those within the system, or the politicians and special interests, are not patronized and favored to an extent as this generates tremendous capital above and beyond the seigniorage and overhead within the department. This has and always shall be a fine line for any government mint. No developed country with a coinage mint produces the one cent denomination save for the United States. Very few still produce the five cent. In every case the public uproar was as one might expect. Yet in the end, the same public came to realize that their tax paying dollars were no longer being frivolously over spent producing a coin valued nearly double it's face. The solution they concluded was to simply round up or down to the next highest denomination.

As for the United States and how such a long overdue transition must occur in a manner which would satisfy both seems difficult at best to most. What if there were a way to not round up or down? More importantly, how to satisfy the Lincoln Cent collector and admirer? We need to look no further than the past. Resurrect the two and three cent pieces. Both composed of an aluminum alloy would be more than feasible where seigniorage applies. How it works is fairly straight forward. If the transaction is say, $8.51 this would become 8 dollars, 1 quarter, 2 dimes and 2 three-cent since two and three factor into any number combination between one and nine when combined together or with other denominations. As for the collector and adoring public, the cent could continue on in the annual sets. Just as the Kennedy since being retired in 2001. The U.S. Mint could boldly go one step further and return the composition to 100% copper while making more than enough over cost without raising the price of each set.

In conclusion, imagine that person who loves Lincoln but is not a collector per say. If it only becomes available from a mint issued set the chances are increased that they might join our ranks. And that is a definite win/win scenario. It can, and should, be done without copying other countries.



Level 4

Personally, an easier answer would be to just round everything to a fraction of 5 cents. This would eliminate the cent and not require the making of a new two-cent or three-cent piece. All coinage at that point would be a fraction 5, thus making “change” in commerce that much simpler. That being said, I do like the idea of returning cents to their copper make-up, and keeping it as part of issued Mint Cents (proof/uncirculated). Would definitely appeal to the collector market, as well as pay for the cost of production. Just my two cents… lol.

Long Beard

Level 5

Some very interesting thoughts and ideas. Thanks my people! Upon reflection, I myself wouldn't be comfortable with an aluminum U.S. coin. Thanks Moke for the correction, as I was writing the blog that was the first cost effective metal I thought of.


Level 4

And of course, few countries even use a paper note anymore. Canada eliminated their one-dollar bill and replaced it with a coin without any trouble, and yet the government proceeds to make dollar bills. Just do away with it and produce one dollar coins for circulation as opposed to only in overpriced sets issued for collectors.


Level 6

All interesting ideas and thoughts! Enjoyed your blog! ; )


Level 6

Interesting idea. I personally don't think the mint would do it. First they seem to hate new ideas. A good new idea seems especially hateful to them. I think if this is to happen, the end of lets start with Lincoln cents The MoKe idea is the best. I could be wrong. Thanks.


Level 7

I can't comment on this. I have many times. The solution . Cut down on how many they make. Its a coin loaded with history. The first coin with a President on it. Other coins have more copper. And everything will go up five cents. That adds up. Thanks for the blog but I can't see changing the material the 30 trillion debt is not because of cents. Thanks for your always great blog. The first cent made was the Fugio in 1787.


Level 4

I would agree that a two and three cent piece would be very good for commerce, and that it would certainly make a good replacement for the cent. I like your thoughts on this situation.

It's Mokie

Level 6

A creative solution but one that would probably not satisfy the public since aluminum coins are associated with nations of lesser import than our wonderful Unified States. I think a better solution would be to study how Canada went about eliminating their cent and follow the same game plan (minus any miscues they encountered). The public will howl, of course, but don't we howl about anything and everything anymore? Think of the fun the Q people will have weaving their tallest tales.

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